Social security numbers, full names, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, PINs and passwords-what do they all have in common?
Yes, they are personal information and other than that, they are key pieces of information that an identity thief can use if he or she wants to pose as another individual. There are cases when illegal immigrants gain legal entry to another country by assuming another person’s identity and gain legal employment in that new country using stolen social security cards and identities. More often than not, any crime committed by the identity theft expert is attributed to the victim and no one will realize that they have been victims until the ends of the day when everything about their identity has been stolen.
There are two main types of identity theft: account take over and true name theft. We will discuss these two concepts separately.
Account takeover takes place when an identity theft criminal utilizes his or her victim’s personal information to gain access to bank and credit card accounts. In this circumstance, the identity thief will often apply for a change of address so that the victim will not realize that his or her identity has already been stolen since no billing statements arrive. The thief is then fee to credit more products and subscribe to more services online and offline.
On the other hand, the second type-true name identity theft-refers to a situation where the identity thief utilizes his or her victim’s personal information to open new bank accounts, apply for new credit cards, create a new checking account or subscribe to any phone or utility services.
The internet has made stealing identities more convenient and profitable for identity thieves. For one reason, the “physical identity” of the person making the online transaction cannot be verified. All the thief requires to complete the transaction is a right card number, a couple of easily accessible personal information and phone numbers. Key in all that and the online transaction that the thief is engaged in will be easily finished in minutes.
Restoring your good name and credit score can take you a considerable amount of time. Of course, undertaking the process will require that you get in touch with various agencies and credit bureaus just to dispute the entries that were fraudulently committed under your name. This task can be very daunting on the part of the victims and the entire process could take months, and even years. It may be a long and painful process but then again, everything can be worth it if you have your name at stake.
It is never possible to totally protect yourself against identity theft. While there are a lot of safeguards that you can do to protect yourself and your identity, this can only reduce your attractiveness to identity thieves but it cannot fully protect you from it. Still, if you feel that your account has been compromised, you need to immediately contact the persons concerned.